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This is not news. Lightweighting has been recognised for years as the main route to less consuming vehicles by most automotive OEMs as well as the European Commission. Lightweighting is highly beneficial for the energy efficiency of not only EVs, which can then run on a smaller=cheaper battery, but also ICE vehicles which can feature a significantly downsized motor, thus highly efficient for the power it needs to provide. A number of large scale R&D projects follow that route, focusing on lighter materials (e.g. carbon fibre reinforced plastic composites, high strength steels, aluminium, magnesium), multi-material approaches (incl. metal-plastic hybrids) and innovative, customised design for downsizing and function integration. For more info have a look at past projects TECABS, SuperLightCar, as well as running projects ELVA, DELIVER and HIVOCOMP. New projects ALIVE and ENLIGHT are soon to be public, while others focusing specifically on safe light urban electric vehicles (like the Axiam but homologated for safety) are likely to be launched next year. See a short description of the projects in the EUCAR project book 2012:
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Dec 18, 2012